The FTSE 100 closed higher after a busy day of results while US stocks are mixed as investors awaited the outcome of the US Federal Reserve’s policy meeting.
London’s blue-chip index closed 0.27 per cent higher boosted by a series of positive earnings updates from WPP and Lloyds.
Investors’ focus now turns to the US central bank, which is expected to reaffirm that easy monetary policy will remain in place later today.
Meanwhile, the mid-cap FTSE 250 finished the day up 0.13 per cent.
WPP gained 4.27 per cent this afternoon after the world’s biggest advertising firm said its underlying net sales had returned to growth.
Lloyds rose 3.51 per cent after reporting quarterly profit of £1.9bn and cut provisions for bad loans. It came as other European banks reported strong trading with Santander’s profits soaring to nearly five times their level
BP gained 3.12 per cent after reporting its biggest quarterly profit since the start of the pandemic on Tuesday. It announced it will hand investors a $500m cash windfall as the oil markets recover.
Fresnillo led this afternoon’s biggest fallers, shedding 3.67 per cent while Aveva continued to drag, trading down 3.79 per cent.
Wall Street awaits result of Fed meeting
Wall Street had a mixed start to the day as investors await the result of the Federal Reserve’s meeting later today.
The benchmark S&P 500 edged 0.09 per cent higher while the Dow Jones shed 114 points to 33,870.
The Fed is expected to leave rates and bond buying as it is but investors will be looking at its view on inflationary pressures and when it might start to ease off on fiscal support.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq slipped 0.12 per cent despite a strong bag of earnings last night, which saw Google owner Alphabet smash expectations.
Microsoft also had another stellar quarter but its results still seem to have been deemed not quite as good as expected.
“Beating analyst estimates hasn’t been enough to boost the share price of Microsoft yesterday, and it may not be enough to boost Facebook and Apple’s share prices after today’s earnings announcements,” Ipek Ozkardeskaya, senior analyst at Swissquote said.
“There is clear consensus on the official consensus, and the real consensus for the tech stocks is a super-beat, and not just a slight beat, and even less an in-line number.”
This evening, Facebook and Apple will post quarterly earnings.